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Survivor 43 Premieres TOMORROW: Full Cast Assessment And Season Preview

CBS Photo Archive. Getty Images.

The long off-season is over. Survivor returns to our screens TOMORROW NIGHT after a four-month layoff. Season 43 kicks off at 8 PM ET with a two-hour premiere. Having Survivor back on our screens just makes life better so I'm excited. Season 41 was widely considered to be a dud, but Season 42 bounced back and was very entertaining with great characters. So let's hope 43 stays on that trajectory. 

It seems like Season 43 will be very similar to the last couple seasons with only some changes. There's still no theme and it's just "Survivor 43." It's still only 26 days. There will still be limited food and resources. There will still be the risk/reward advantages. There's still the earn the merge twist, and there's still the Shot in the Dark. But everyone can rejoice because the Hourglass twist is gone, widely panned as perhaps the worst and most pointless twist in the history of the show. And the Do Or Die twist (with the Monty Hall problem) is also a thing of the past. Those were my two least favorite changes to the previous seasons so I'm glad they're gone. Credit to Jeff and the production crew for listening to audience feedback on that. I haven't been able to find anything about the weird phrases to activate the idol. But I'd imagine that's probably gone since people have seen 41 and 42 and know something is up with that. I'm sure there's another risk/reward thing with idols this season though.  

Here's the official season trailer. 

Pretty standard season trailer. I'll break down the cast below as is tradition and give my pre-season winner rankings based on their intro videos and generic answers. My track record is pretty decent so this could hopefully be a helpful guide if you're doing a Survivor fantasy league or something. 

And also, Snuffing Torches will be back this season. If you're unfamiliar, that's the Survivor podcast I do with Jeff D Lowe, Glenny, Nate, Jake Marsh, and maybe we'll get some other new faces in the rotation this season. 

You can SUBSCRIBE HERE ON APPLE AND SPOTIFY. And also follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

And just like last season, we'll be putting the full episodes up on YouTube the following day. You can subscribe to my page here which is where they'll all go. 

We will record our first episode of the season tomorrow night to recap the premiere. Subscribe on all platforms to get it when it drops.

Alright now let's get into the cast preview. Answers and blurbs are courtesy of Parade


Jesse Lopez has lived a life rooted in pivots. The 30-year-old went from being a gang member in juvenile hall to turning his life around, now a homeowner and a proud father of two. He fell in love with Survivor when he studied voting behavior as part of his Ph.D. in Political Science. And he hopes he's able to turn those book smarts into beach smarts, even if it means breaking through an unfriendly first impression.

Extremely interesting life summary here. A gang member turned Ph.D student. It's stories like this I can't compete with that will stop me from ever getting cast on this show. 

Pet Peeve(s): Quitters, people who complain about things but aren’t willing to change, and personalized license plates.

Complaining about problems but refusing to do anything that could solve those problems is my specialty. 

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? I’m basically Spencer or Christian (David vs. Goliath) if they got jumped into a gang at 15. I’m definitely bringing an academic mindset to the game because I’ve spent more hours thinking about how people vote than Sandra and Boston Rob combined. At the same time, I wasn’t raised in an ivory tower and have been around the block enough to know there is stuff textbooks can’t teach you about real people and life.

This is an awesome answer. The idea of Christian being in a gang at 15 is quite the visual. I'm interested in his research findings on how people vote. 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? I’ve researched voting behavior for years. I don’t care if I’m out there with someone who never missed an episode of SURVIVOR, or someone who played 3 times already, they ain’t gonna hold a candle to me strategically. But I’m also not an academic by nature and have gone from being a gang member to dealing with Harvard-level researchers on a daily basis -- so I can adapt to any environment and build relationships with anyone.

My Take On Jesse:

Jesse seems like a very intriguing and complex character. The very definition of someone who's both street smart and book smart. That could be a dangerous combination for this game. I do worry that his answers come off a little "gamebot-ish" and he's too hung up on the science of how people vote instead of the social game. But as a former gang member, he's used to fitting into groups. Winner contender for sure. 


Morriah Young is a teacher and artist whose personality is as colorful as the art she creates (as well as her style). The 28-year-old grew up watching Survivor from the very beginning and is here to check one final thing off the bucket list of her late mother. 

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? I’m proud of the life I’m building with my fiancé. I’m proud of being a teacher. I’m proud of making it through college. Opening my selfie museum.

Selfie museum???? I need to hear more about this. Sounds awfully similar to my NFT Selfie Collection. 

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? James: “Don’t bite the apple!” Stay true to your alliance as best you can, and stick it out to the end.

Not sure I really see this comparison at all. James was one of the best physical competitors in show history but lacked strategy and got voted out with an idol in his pocket. She almost seems like the exact opposite. 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? There isn’t anything in the world that I cannot accomplish. My mindset has gotten me to the finish line of all my dreams. Plus, I’m super lovable and not an immediate threat. 

Describing yourself as "super lovable" is usually not something that actually super lovable people do. 

My Take On Morriah: 

She seems like a very high energy person and the key will be her social game. If she's too high-strung and annoying, she will be voted out very early since she won't help much in challenges. But if she's able to survive until the merge, she could make a deep run. She gives some Maryanne vibes from last season who I never thought would win but we see how that turned out. 


At 19 years old, Sami Layadi is this season's youngest castaway. But the pet cremator wants to use that to his advantage, looking to learn from the life experiences of his competition to endear himself as a "likable kid."

Deciding you want to be a pet cremator when you grow up should honestly get you on some kind of watch list. 

3 Words to Describe You: Unpredictable, tenacious, indecisive

Not the best mix for Survivor. 

Pet Peeve(s): Excuses, laziness, being woken up before noon on weekends

Kind of funny to say you don't like laziness and then immediately follow that up with not liking waking up before noon on weekends. He better get used to a lack of sleep. 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? Because I do not allow myself to not know what is going on with those around me. I am too conversationally and emotionally experienced with people to be unaware of my standing in the game at all times, and I am too determined and hungry to get comfortable. Everybody that I meet grows a heart on their sleeve after I speak with them for 20 minutes, and my competitors on the island will be no different.

My Take On Sami:

He seems like a smart, likable young man. I expect him to be a good social player that will easily make allies. He seems athletic enough to be kept around pre-merge and could be a decent threat in individual challenges. I do think being so young hurts his chances and there's a reason nobody that young has ever won though. Could be a contender but don't think I see him winning it all. 


Karla Cruz Godoy has always lived with the motto "if you don't like something, change it." The 28-year-old grew up in a low-income household, building resiliency that got her a prestigious scholarship and an impressive education to boot. 

Just absolutely sucks that I had to grow up in a middle-class family. 

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Cirie Fields because she was an incredibly well-rounded, social, and analytical player. She was loved by all, she knew when to stir the pot, and she knew how to keep a strong social game that could take her to the end. I’m physically strong, so I’ll use that as an added advantage.

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? I’m adaptable, resilient, gregarious, and my ancestors have my back. I’m confident in my social game, that I’ll build relationships across differences and get along with just about anyone. With my wife and family in my heart and thoughts, I know I will make it to the end.

My Take On Karla: 

She didn't give a ton in her answers that I could learn from. But from some of the season previews and video, she seems to be saying that she'll do anything to win and doesn't mind lying and starting drama. That's good, but you also can't overdo that too much and put a target on your back. If that's the case, she could be an early boot for starting too much trouble. But my gut feeling says to be more optimistic than pessimistic on her if she can survive pre-merge. 


From playing in the NBA Finals with LeBron to GM of the Suns to Survivor. What a run. 

3 Words to Describe You: Confident, casual, self-aware

Self-awareness is probably one of the most important traits a person can have on Survivor. So if that's actually the case, very good sign for James. 

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Winning the United States Chess Open (largest chess tournament in the USA) for my rating bracket when I was 12. You are playing against grown people, and I won $1,200. That was like $100,000 to me at the time! It gave me the confidence that I could do almost anything.

There is seemingly always a chess player on Survivor. Spencer comes to mind as the most popular and successful one. Chess strategy can definitely be helpful in the game, but it doesn't outweigh the importance of the social game and human interaction. 

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Sandra’s “anyone but me” will always be my strategy, as long as I see a path to the end and I am with people, or have people, in which I trust. If I don’t have that, I will be an agent of chaos Russell with charm. I am playing to win and not for 7th place.

Very interesting answer here. I do think the "anyone but me" strategy is effective (as clearly shown with Sandra), it just can be hard to pull off. But to say he's either going to be that or a Russell-like agent of chaos is quite the 180. 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? I thrive, and find a certain comfort, in chaos. Managing events at a club on a Friday night anything can happen, but whatever issues pop up you have to handle. That takes interpersonal skills if it is dealing with people, and it takes general problem-solving skills when dealing with a venue, and you still have to make sure everyone at your party has a great time.

I don't I necessarily would've ever said that being an event planner/manager is great training for the game of Survivor, but the way he explains it does make sense. It's a ton of people skills which is truly the key to winning this game. 

My Take On James: 

I'm very high on James. A smart guy with people skills who doesn't come off as some huge target is a recipe to go deep in this game. If he leans too far into the agent of chaos role, that could be a problem. But I think if he lays low and uses his social game mixed with the strategic thinking he has from the chess background, we could be looking at the Season 43 winner. 


Six years ago, Noelle Lambert lost her leg in an accident. But the 25-year-old turned tragedy into triumph, becoming a Paralympian and competing in the Tokyo games last year.

I suppose that's more impressive than anything I've ever done. I guess. 

3 Words to Describe You: Tenacious, outgoing, determined

Going from losing your leg to being a Paralympian is the definition of determined. I know that if I ever lost my leg it would be curtains for ole Tommy boy.

What is something we would never know from looking at you? Something people don’t think when they see me is that I am a tremendous athlete. What a lot of people see when they look at me is my prosthetic, and they feel sorry for me and doubt my capabilities. And that is their first mistake.

I'm really curious to see how her tribe views Noelle in challenges. On the surface, you might think someone with a prosthetic leg is a liability in challenges. But she is clearly very athletic both before and after her accident and in reality is probably one of the most athletic people out on the island. 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? I have the ability to form friendships easily, and I will use that to my advantage to go far in the game. I am also good at strategizing and adapting to an ever-changing environment, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to make it to the end. If you present me the impossible, I will overcome it.

My Take On Noelle:

I don't mean to be crass here, but standing out on Survivor is usually a bad thing. Having a prosthetic leg is something that makes Noelle stand out. That's just a fact. While no reasonable person would think "Oh this girl only has one leg, let's vote her ass out," I do think that people won't be itching to sit next to her at Final Tribal Council. If she becomes the first amputee to ever make the finals in Survivor, you can just cut her the check. So I think she'll be viewed as too big of a threat to make it to the end. 


The stakes are high for Geo Bustamante coming into Survivor. The 36-year-old was forced to quit his job to be on the show, so he's aiming to come back home with his biggest paycheck yet. 

My God, talk about high stakes. 

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Being that English is my second language, I grew up in the hood and was homeless for a period of time, the accomplishment that I am most proud of is graduating with my Associates degree with a 4.0 GPA.

I think I literally have to become homeless if I want to get on this show. 

What is something we would never know from looking at you? I grew up shy, quiet and in my head, which made me a thinker and very analytical. People also don’t see that if they mess or compete with me, they will lose. A whole new alter ego comes out that turns into a beast during any competition.

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? It would have to be a combination of Cochran and Boston Rob. I am not as physical as Rob, but I will be strategic like Cochran. I’m hoping that by the end of the season, people will see that I played my own game.

I like both these answers. Always gotta be thinking three steps ahead in these games. 

My Take On Geo:

I worry about Geo playing a little too hard based on the answers he gave in his video. If he tries too hard to be too strategic out of the gate, he could be an early boot. But I do think he shows a good amount of potential with his understanding of the game. I could see him making a run. 


Pharmacist Nneka Ejere hopes she has the proper prescription to become a Survivor winner. The 43-year-old has experience with literal big moves, having immigrated from Nigeria with two children and a third on the way. As the oldest woman on the season, she hopes her experience with resilience and community building will give her a shot to play her preferred style, where she hopes to challenge the usual lying and backstabbing.

I don't like how much she's against lying and backstabbing. Does she know what show she signed up to be on? 

Pet Peeve(s): Mediocrity, laziness

I think every single person so far has listed laziness as one of their pet peeves. I expect a shelter to be built within 30 minutes and a steady supply of firewood to flow all season. 

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Cirie, because I love to connect and do so easily. I will play hard without seeming to on the surface.

My Take On Nneka: 

I think she'll have no problem making allies, but being the oldest woman "mom" archetype on the season is always a disadvantage. It's usually either an early boot or dragged deep as a goat. There's been exceptions (Tina, Chrissy) but they're more the outliers than the norm. Plus she's already saying she doesn't want to lie and backstab. I'll put her winning chances very low. 


It's unknown if Mike Gabler has the most heart out of the Survivor 43 cast, but he certainly is the biggest expert on it. The transcatheter valve expert has made the show a household staple since the very beginning and is thinking back home in more ways than one out here. But he's ready to dry his tears, though they may help people look past his "severe-looking" exterior.

I was definitely expecting him to be a rancher or cowboy or something like Brad from Season 41. Heart doctor would've been towards the bottom of my guess list. 

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? If I can only pick one, then I’d say Sandra. She was always in the right place at the right time. She had phenomenal strategies and game play.

Kind of interesting to see how many Sandra answers there are this season. If everyone comes in with the "anyone but me" strategy, it will be a lot less effective and something will have to give eventually. 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? Yes!!

Well that's just not the proper way to answer that question. 

My Take On Gabler: 

As I said before, Survivor is a game where you don't want to stand out. And Gabler just stands out. Big hat. Big beard. Tons of tattoos. Just not someone who I think will blend in too easily. But he does seem to have a decent understanding of the game and is smarter than he looks. If he can come off as the fun cowboy looking guy but actually be a strategic threat, he'll go far. I wouldn't bet on him winning though. 


Once she started talking about having the universe on her side and manifesting and all that bullshit, I immediately shot her down my winner rankings. 

Pet Peeve(s): Narrow-minded, judgmental people. Also, people who have no reverence for Mother Nature and all her beautiful beings!

Well, I am being narrow minded and judging her for all these hippie answers so I don't see us getting along. 

What is something we would never know from looking at you? I’ve always carried a deep spiritual wonder and appreciation for life, nature and all of its many beautiful complexities. I can manifest and create anything when I surrender fully to the moment and find acceptance in it. Maintaining that flow throughout the game will not always be easy, but it is a top priority.


My Take On Cassidy: 

I'm not even going through the rest of her answers because I'm already out on her. Just too much hippie-dippie stuff. She could be an early boot if she proves to be a liability in challenges. I definitely don't get winner vibes from her. 


Dwight Moore has so much interviewing experience that he may be coming for Jeff Probst's Tribal Council job by the end of the season. The 22-year-old had a journalism career at a young age that gave him the bravery to do anything, including apply to Survivor. 

A kind of dorky journalism student who loves Survivor? Can't relate!

Pet Peeve(s): Someone making a reference to “The Office” within two seconds of learning my name. Arrogance. Refusal to use turn signals while driving.

I also get annoyed with people overdoing references to The Office so I think I would have to change my name. 

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? I hope to emulate Wendell’s game from “Ghost Island” the most. He made it far due to an extremely strong social game, and I hope to create that same level of bond, such that people will want to keep me around, even if doing so would be detrimental to their long-term game. Also, he performed well in challenges, both in the individual and tribal phases when needed.

My Take On Dwight: 

If we're being frank, I thought he came off a bit annoying in that intro video. A little too high energy and ambitious in a way that could rub people the wrong way on a deserted island for 26 days. He definitely seems like a smart guy, but my initial read on him is a potential early boot as the student of the game who comes off too eager too soon. 


Justine Brennan grew up in a household that taught the value of hard work. Her parents built a life for her and her siblings after immigrating from the Philippines. The 29-year-old's fandom ignited when she binge-watched the series during quarantine. 

Safe to assume she read the Tommy Smokes Survivor Binge Watching Guide. 

Pet Peeve(s): When people walk slowly right in front of you, when you open the door for someone and they don’t say thank you, when people are passive aggressive.

Wow those first two are very near the top of my list as well. Maybe we should get married? 

What is something we would never know from looking at you? I think a lot of people think I’m an un-athletic girly girl, but my dad raised me to be the son he never had. I grew up racing dirtbikes and going to fishing derbies. And at my high school’s traditional junior vs. senior girls powderpuff football game, I put a girl in a headlock and tackled her to the ground. (There’s photo evidence.)

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Either Kelley Wentworth or Joe Anglim. Joe was obviously an insane competitor at the individual challenges, but he also proved himself to be a necessary part of the tribe with how resourceful he was. Both were generally likable people to their tribes. It’s necessary to perform things like blindsides in order to keep yourself in the game, but I think Kelley and Joe both played in a lawful-enough way that wasn’t anywhere near as manipulative as other people like Sandra or Tony.

I definitely wouldn't have expected her to the challenge threat it seems like she might be. If she's as good as she says, that'll definitely help her last until the merge. 

My Take On Justine: 

There's a lot of potential for Justine. She seems like a smart, likable, challenge threat who shouldn't have a big target on her back for any specific reason. If she can blend in early and make some allies, she could make a deep run for sure. There's winner potential. 


The 30-year-old fell back in love with the show as an adult and feels his interpersonal skills can get many alliance applications accepted. He feels he's perceived as a cross between a long-haired "bro" and a brainy nerd, and hopes that can make him a big unknown on the island.

I love everything about Owen's video there. Comes off as a really likable guy who knows the game and should be a contender in challenges. 

What is something we would never know from looking at you? That I’m a great public speaker and use my people skills at work every day. Asian men have certain unfair stereotypes associated with them, and I do not fit that mold. I played football in high school, was rush chair for my fraternity, and can entertain a room of 800 people. I use my EQ more than my IQ on an average day.

EQ matters a lot more than IQ in Survivor. I have said time and time again that it's a social and personal relationship game more than it's anything else. You're not solving math problems, you're solving people problems. And it seems like that's something Owen has experience with. 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? I can win SURVIVOR because I am an unassuming triple threat. Socially, I’m likable and take a genuine interest in people. I make people feel like I am invested in them because I actually am! Physically, I am athletic enough to be an asset early in the game; however, nobody is going to mistake me for Ozzy and view me as a threat to go on an individual immunity run. Strategically, I am a SURVIVOR super-duper fan and have seen every season and watch the international versions. I have studied this game and know what works and what doesn’t. Most importantly, I am pretty self-aware and know that I need to play my own game and go with the flow as the game develops.

This is an incredible answer. Like maybe the best answer I've ever seen in all the cast preview blogs I've written. It hits every single aspect of the game and nails what's important. 

My Take On Owen:

I love everything about Owen. If he puts everything he's saying into action, you're looking at your Season 43 winner. Right now, he's gotta be my pre-season favorite. 


Lindsay Carmine has lived a life of service, whether working as a nurse or supporting her family through both triumph and tragedy. But one thing's clear: She's playing Survivor for herself. The 42-year-old is capitalizing on a dream that spans over two decades, but sees herself as the underdog due to her age and perceived Southern hospitality. But make no mistake, she's ready for the frontlines of this game.

Pet Peeve(s): People that cut in line. Smacking gum. When people play games on their phone and don’t put the phone on silent.

That last one is a great call. Just so inconsiderate. The other day I rode the elevator with a lady just playing music on her phone with no headphones. Just making everyone in the elevator listen to whatever she wanted to listen to. Selfish bitch. 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? I have 20 years’ worth of reasons why I am going to be the sole SURVIVOR.

Well how about you list a single one of them then?

My Take On Lindsay: 

In Nneka's section, I talked about how the mom characters usually fare on this show and the same goes for Lindsay. She does seem high-energy and competitive, but she's not giving much to make me think she'll be a strategic force. She could go far if survives pre-merge and gets in the right alliance, but I don't see her winning. 


Born with mild cerebral palsy, he worked up from not being able to walk to becoming a personal trainer. He's had to read body language and facial expressions to anticipate next moves, something he believes will make him a natural for the game

Pretty interesting background story here and definitely something that can help him in the game. Reading body language and facial expressions to figure out if someone is lying to you is pivotal. 

Pet Peeve(s): Bullies, laziness, self-entitlement.

Add another contestant to the list who says they hate laziness. 

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Rupert. I like the way he provided food for his tribe, which helped them keep their strength for the challenges.

Just when I was starting to like this guy. But unfortunately, Rupert is one of my least favorite Survivor contestants of all time. He though it was an actual survival show instead of a strategic and social one. 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? I’m a triple threat. I can socialize easily, am naturally strong and quick in puzzles. I am great at forming bonds and can influence others with a silver tongue. I have a great resolve to do what needs to be done to earn the million dollars.

My Take on Ryan: 

I liked Ryan's chances up until that Rupert answer. A smart guy who doesn't seem like he'll come on too strong and rub people the wrong way. He also looks pretty jacked which should help him last until the merge. Although that might put a target on his back later in the game. Probably like an 8th place finisher. 


UX designer Jeanine Zheng is ready to navigate a different web out on the island. The 24-year-old comes to the game to make both her and her father's dreams come true, having watched the show together through the years. And while she's excited about the looseness and unpredictability the "new era" provides, she hopes her resume of high achievement will lead to yet another hard-earned success in her life.

3 Words to Describe You: Green (both in that I absorb all new experiences/information around me, and am environmentally conscious), empathetic, witty

Her and Cassidy should get along well.

Pet Peeve(s): Being “mansplained” to, people on their phones while you’re hanging out.

"Mansplaining" is when a man explains something to a woman in a simple, condescending manner. Does that make sense? 

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? Given the evolution of the game, I see the winner as having to sit between multiple trust clusters and have the intuition to know when to rely on which at any given moment. I can sit in that position; I can create relationships with people from completely different backgrounds and juggle the nuances of my different alliances. My athleticism and outdoor experience give me the ability to “outlast,” but I see my real strong-suit in the “outwit” portion. I can read social dynamics easily, which will allow me to be ahead of the curve in terms of moves. I’ll make my own moves, so that at final tribal council, there will be no question of whether or not I played actively and assertively.

Excellent, excellent answer that shows a clear grasp of modern Survivor gameplay. 

My Take On Jeanine: 

I wasn't sure what to think of her until I saw that last answer. That really impressed me. She seems affable enough to fly under the radar in the beginning, and smart enough to then strike in the merge stage. She reminds of Season 41 winner Erika to a degree. I can see her making a deep run. 


The following two people don't have their intro videos released yet so we'll just have to go off their bios. Makes it a little tougher to do but we'll manage. 



CBS Photo Archive. Getty Images.

Age: 31
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Current Residence: Salt Lake City, Utah
Occupation: Clinical Psychologist

Elie Scott fell in love with Survivor after a friend in grad school compared her to Michele Fitzgerald. And the 31-year-old hopes that her work as a clinical psychologist will see her get similar success. Specializing in working through PTSD with veterans, she believes her skills as a connector will get her through the 26-day battle she's about to enter. And though she knows she masks some surprising disorganization, she plans to cover for that by becoming the next "advantage queen."

I don't like her going in with the mindset of wanting to become the next advantage queen. Playing too focused on advantages instead of alliances and relationships is a bad strategy. 

Favorite Hobbies: Rock climbing, skiing, karaoke at dive bars
3 Words to Describe You: Clever, perceptive and authentic

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? I will outwit by use of my natural social skill and cutthroat strategy. People will trust, share information, and be disarmed by me, which will make me dangerous. I am coming into the game with the understanding that SURVIVOR is a world with a different set of social norms, so my mindset will shift away from Psychologist ethics and toward SURVIVOR Ethics. I will outplay with my natural competitiveness, athleticism, and tenacity. I will not give up. In this new era, advantages are key, so I will hustle hard to find and use advantages to keep myself alive! And I will outlast by moving towards small goals that will motivate me along the way. I will know when to strike and when to lay low. I will be sneaky when I have to be and transparent when it is beneficial. I will adapt with the game.

My Take On Elie: 

Pretty solid answers I suppose. Obviously harder to get a read on her without seeing her talk and how she acts. Nothing stands out in either direction that makes me think super highly or lowly of her. But she clearly understands the game and doesn't seem to be a total weirdo so that's a good combination. 


CBS Photo Archive. Getty Images.

Age: 35
Hometown: Preston, Iowa
Current Residence: Honolulu, HI
Occupation: Elevator Sales

Cody Assenmacher is no stranger to island life, having moved from the plains of Iowa to Hawaii years ago. His plan for playing is outlined by some of his favorite previous players: Have fun, compete, and provide. The 35-year-old knows his wildcard image may draw a lot of attention, both good and bad. But he speculates his gameplay will be just like his hair: Relationship building in the front and wildly strategic in the back.

Seems like a very high energy guy who will draw attention to himself, unsure if that'll be in a good or bad way but that's usually bad. 

Pet Peeve(s): Lazy people, social media addicts, clipping nails in a public location

Was it a requirement to hate laziness to get cast on this season? Also anyone who clips their nails in public should be beheaded. People don't actually do that, do they? 

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Malcolm – he was a likable, physically skilled, humble player who used that skill set to advance his way through the game. Malcolm and I share multiple character, personality and physical skill sets. The ability to sit back and sometimes play the role of a fool to fool the fool who thinks they’re fooling you is critical in competing in this game.

Why do you believe you can be the Sole Survivor? I know that SURVIVOR and I were meant for each other. Just took us 20 years to realize it! My charismatic, fun-loving personality will enable me to build alliances. My competitive edge will keep numbers through winning challenges. Experience being outdoors will help in building shelter and sourcing food. My experiences, profession, and living in different cities have given me wisdom ahead of my time, and I will use that to my advantage in communicating with players older than me, while my active lifestyle and youthful spirit will enable me to relate to younger players.

My Take On Cody: 

I don't love Cody's winning chances. I'm sure he'll be kept around pre-merge if he's not too annoying, but he could be seen as a physical threat at the merge and targeted. I just don't get the winner vibe from him. 

Winner Rankings

Alright now that we've judged these books by their covers, let's get into some potential winner picks. This is a running list I’ll keep all season long. This is NOT who will last the longest. Don’t look at the person ranked last as the person most likely to go home next. Look at them as the person with the least chance to win. That person could very easily get dragged to FTC as a goat, but won’t win. This is ranking people based on their chance to actually win the game. 

Tier 1 (I think one of these people will win)

1. Owen

2. James

3. Jeanine

4. Jesse

5. Justine

6. Karla

Tier 2 (I could see one of these people winning)

7. Geo

8. Elie

9. Sami

10. Dwight

11. Ryan 

Tier 3 (Very low chances)

12. Morriah

13. Cody

14. Gabler

Tier 4 (Would be shocked if one of them win)

15. Noelle

16. Nneka

17. Lindsay

18. Cassidy

And that's a wrap on the cast assessment for Season 43. Excited to keep the Survivor content coming all season long. Weekly episode recap blogs. Snuffing Torches episodes recaps (SUBSCRIBE ON YOUTUBEAPPLESPOTIFY, AND LEAVE A 5-STAR REVIEW). And I may do some TikToks too @tommysmokes. Follow along all season as we enjoy the greatest show in the history of television. 

26 days. 18 people. ONE Survivor!